By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, March 27: The popular Sama Jaya Nature Reserve here has an interesting feature — long-tailed macaques having ‘family outings’ and roaming freely, just like Kuchingites taking a stroll or exercising in the park.
Families of these primates were spotted at different stretches along the footpaths in the park. Another sizeable group was found at the car parking area yesterday when DayakDaily reporters went to check out this ‘monkey business’.
All in all, more than 80 long-tailed macaques were spotted coming out in the open between 6pm and 7pm yesterday.
To the security guards in the park, however, it was a normal sight. They have seen more than a hundred of them roaming free in different parts of the park, often in groups.
“There are sometimes more than a hundred of them coming out of the woods at one time. They are everywhere. This is a very normal sight,” a security guard told DayakDaily.
When contacted today, Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) general manager Oswald Braken Tisen said SFC had been monitoring the primates in Sama Jaya Nature Reserve, who are becoming very “sociable and friendly”.
He explained that these long-tailed macaques did not come out and wander around in the open space because of the lack of food.
“They are omnivorous, like us. They can eat anything — plant or meat or the food that we throw away.”
“Their population has been increasing. If there is a lack of food, they won’t be breeding so fast. The increase of their population shows the availability of food in their habitat,” reasoned Braken.
On the reasons for them to be roaming openly recently along the paths and open space even when there are park visitors, he said it could have been due to them being used to human presence.
“They have now get used to human presence, whom they see as part of their habitat,” said Braken.
He said long-tailed macaques always move around in groups, where there is an alpha male leading them.
“But there is nothing to be worried about. Visitors only need to leave them alone.
“They will not disturb visitors, but visitors should not disturb them as well. There are some naughty individuals among them, and we have removed them,” said Braken.
On the naughty ones who have been “removed”, he said these nuisance ones had been first transferred to Matang Wildlife Centre for observation.
“Once they are deemed to be okay, they will later be moved to Monkey Island (an area located in the Kuching Wetlands),” he disclosed.
He reminded visitors to strictly adhere to the “No feeding the animals” instruction when visiting the park. — DayakDaily